Almost one year ago today, I sat in anger watching Rev. Ken Campbell and Norma Scarborough of CARAL sparring on a phone-in talk show. I was angry for two reasons: the programme was pre-recorded so I couldn’t phone in to comment, and Norma Scarborough had the audacity to state that “women have their abortion and life goes on as usual.”
Norma obviously has no personal experience with abortion – I have.
You have probably met and know women who have made the agonizing “choice” to kill their unborn child. Yes, Norma, let’s call it like it is. There is no need to dress up murder with the term “therapeutic abortion.” I’ve often wondered: for just whom is the “therapy” intended?
In the mid-seventies, I traveled to what was then hailed as the abortion capitol of Canada – Kingston. The “tremendous difficulty” in obtaining an abortion, often claimed by pro-abortion groups, was not in evidence. My abortion, and that of my friend, was about as difficult to acquire as a bus ticket to Toronto!
No back room in an alley for me – I went first class. An obstetrician performed my surgery. He tried to ease my fears by describing the abortion as a simple, 10-minute procedure, with a sketchy outline of the surgery involved. He made reference to the “fetus” as though it were some thing, and not a baby. My “fetus” he said, was most surely deformed, due to the fact that I had been taking tetracycline pills. My child, I was told, would have been born without any tooth buds. Years later I found out that the worst that could have happened was a yellowing of the teeth.
My concern that the Therapeutic Abortion Committee would not grant my request was quickly put to rest by the good doctor. “Emotional stress” would be his justification for the abortion and, since he sat on the Committee, I was virtually guaranteed an abortion.
The date was set. It was all so easy and comfortable. My fiancé accompanied me to the hospital. I was in and out of Kingston General Hospital in roughly three hours, feeling very much like I was walking on eggshells but relieved of a burden.
“…I had killed my baby”
Now life could go on as normal. I was to be married soon. My classes at university occupied my thoughts. Quickly, I ordered birth control pills. My one thought was, “I will never allow myself to be put into that situation again. This time I will have control over my own body.”
I married. Time passed. University ended. The birth control pills brought on tremendous mood swings so I stopped taking them in order to regain sanity and preserve my marriage. Still, I could not blame all my problems on the Pill. My interest in sex died. What had been a healthy, normal sex life was gone. There were times I felt suicidal, as though I did not deserve to live because I had dilled my baby. Relatives expected us to start a family and I declared that I would remain childless. Who needs children anyway? I had become a staunch feminist supporter who viewed children as a needless burden.
My husband did not recognize me as the woman he had married. Our marriage was on the edge of the abyss. Eventually after six years of marriage it all came to a head and I sought Christian counseling. That, plus a good dose of the Holy Spirit, brought back the desire to have a baby. I enjoyed all nine months of my pregnancy, marveling at the baby moving inside me. So this was what I had missed!
Our beautiful baby was so sweet! As I held my child in the hospital, thoughts of another, not so fortunate baby brought tears. Could he ever forgive me for what I had done?
As my child grew, I was eventually able to bond with him. Life seemed an endless, maze of diapers and nursing. I did all the right things – my patience seemed endless, friends would say. Inside, the anger boiled. I snapped at my toddler. More and more I was becoming a demanding perfectionist, a tyrant. Why? What was wrong with me? I love my son.
“…a part of me died”
After 12 years of rationalizing and analyzing my problem, I stumbled across someone who recognized and counseled women with Post Abortion Trauma. As he outlined the symptoms, I identified with each one.
Mine was a classic case. Difficulty in bonding to a baby, being easily upset and irritated by children (which can result in child abuse), suicidal thoughts and the weight of guilt are all common to women who have had abortions.
My one true fear, as a Christian was that I would some day meet my aborted baby in Heaven. What would I say? What excuse did I have? There had been no medical or psychiatric emergency. I was selfish for I did not have time to let a baby interfere with plans for my life.
Had my fiancé only said: “We’ll find a way out of this, but let’s not go through with the abortion,” I would have quickly put an end to the surgery! How many men allow their wives or girlfriends to make such a decision alone?
When I chose to abort my baby, a part of me died too. It took five years for the problems to surface and another seven before I asked my baby to forgive me. Then the healing took place. My story has a happy ending, but what of all those women and young girls who have no idea what awaits them five or more years down the road? There is no “Life as usual” after an abortion. That conception is a myth.
Norma, I waster 12 years of my life paying for something which you (and CARAL) continue to promote and defend. In terms of psychological abuse, abortion is not only anti-child, it is profoundly anti-women. You may not even take the time to realize that you are encouraging women to kill their own babies, by dressing up abortion with a load of feminist jargon, such as “women’s rights” or “women’s health.” There is nothing healthy about the after-effects of abortion.
My mental health took a nosedive 12 years ago. Where were you and where was CARAL, when it came time to pick up the pieces?
There is, undoubtedly, someone reading this article who has had an abortion and is paying the price as I did. It is my hope that you will write The Interim and let them know, anonymously, that the helpful obstetricians and the Henry Morgentaler’s have left a trial of casualties behind them.